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Join host Paul Shapiro as he talks with some of the leading start-up entrepreneurs and titans of industry alike using their businesses to help solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Feb 15, 2022

Humanity’s relentless demand for seafood is emptying the oceans with little end in sight. Does the path to freeing fish from us run through fungi fermentation?

That’s exactly what Anne Palermo is betting. 

As you’ll hear in this interview, Anne is a former asset manager at Morgan Stanley who decided mid-career that she wanted to start her own chocolate company. After growing her first startup to millions in revenue, this mom of three got hooked on the need for animal-free protein and pivoted to start a new company focused on saving the oceans.

Anne began growing mycelium—the root-like structure of fungi—on wet cardboard in her kitchen and to her pleasant surprise, she found that she could tune the mycelium into various kinds of whole muscle seafood mimicry. Soon, Aqua Cultured Foods was born.

Fast forward to today, just one year later, and Anne has raised millions of dollars, hired staff, filed provisional patent applications, partnered with a major food company, and more. Anne’s vision involves turning the tide on the war that humanity is waging on oceanic animals while still allowing seafood lovers to enjoy their favorite foods, but just made via fermentation rather than fishing.